The Girl on the Cliff – Lucinda Riley

The Girl On The Cliff

The Girl on the Cliff has all the elements which usually enchant me in a novel – dual time frame, a variety of interesting locations and characters and a hint of romance.  Indeed, the author has packed a lot into this novel – World War I and II, contemporary Ireland and New York, a large cast of characters from a variety of social backgrounds.

In our contemporary story, Grania Ryan has fled her bohemian life (and partner, Matt) in New York following the traumatic experience of a miscarriage.  She has returned to the wilds of West Cork to seek solace amid her family, ordinary folk trying to eke out a living on their farm.  Her return raises issues which her mother had hoped would remain buried in the past as Grania forges links with their neighbours, the aristocratic Lisle family who have been the cause of much grief to the Ryans.   What follows is a rollercoaster ride of a story as we see how the deeds of Grania’s ancestors still have a strong influence on the present.

This is an easy, entertaining read and the narrative covers almost a century of family history as well as physically moving from one continent to another, from the sophistication of contemporary New York to the bleakly beautiful coast of West Cork to the grim streets of a London in wartime.   There is no doubt that Lucinda Riley is an engaging storyteller.

Unfortunately some aspects made this a good but not great novel for me – I found the dialogue rather stilted at times and the plot predictable.  Perhaps there was just too much going on for me to feel connected to the narrative and I didn’t feel there was time to get inside the head of any of the characters which is a shame as they could have been so intriguing.  A little bit of editing and fine-tuning of the dialogue could  have moved it into unputdownable territory rather than an enjoyable enough read.  Still a good read for those who enjoy sweeping family sagas, to be sure…. ;-)

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  1. Fleur Fisher says:

    I finished reading The Girl on the Cliff today, and my feelings were very similar to yours. There were some lovely ideas and I was always going to keep turning the pages, but it did become a little predictable in places.

  2. A very balanced review. I like dual time frames in novels but I’m not that keen on sweeping family sagas. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. admin says:

    I think there are so many novels written in this style these days and it takes something very special to stand out from the crowd.

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